About Us

Mission Statement

The mission of Common Sense is to be the most accurate, most thorough and most interesting source of news, sports and entertainment for the Thomas S. Wootton High School community. The principles that staff members of Common Sense should operate on are:

  • To assertively seek content that has high interest, impacts the reader, provokes discussion and advances the reader’s knowledge
  • To react quickly to any newsworthy events, whether on campus, around Montgomery County or in another part of the world (if it impacts our readers).
  • To make the newspaper as relevant to readers as possible by knowing what has happened, what is happening and what will happen in the news
  • To create a newspaper that is a reflection of the diversity of the backgrounds, goals and interests of the readers.
  • To consistently adhere to the ethical guidelines of Common Sense and foster the most professional environment possible at all levels.
  • To develop and become technically, ethically and successful student journalists.

Diversity Statement

Common Sense recognizes that a commitment to diversity is crucial to fulfilling its mission to be the primary source of information for, by and about the Wootton High School community. Embracing the cultural traditions, beliefs and views of our subjects and audience strengthens this mission. In upholding our mission to provide full, fair news coverage, Common Sense will:

  • recognize that majority groups usually have little trouble sharing its views, but that underrepresented groups do not often share that position. Therefore, Common Sense must be committed to aggressively covering underrepresented groups to the best of its abilities. — This does not necessarily mean running more stories about “minority” issues and people. These stories are important, but underrepresented groups have a stake in “mainstream” stories too. Reporters should be conscious of sourcing: Avoid making someone the single spokesperson for an entire group or community. This usually originates from needing an authoritative source, like a club leader, to talk about an event. That person becomes the go-to source for stories about issues faced by a particular group, but reporters should be aggressive about collecting sources from a wide variety of people in the community.
  • avoid stereotyping and typecasting. Racism, sexism and any other reporting that demeans others will not be tolerated. Furthermore, no mention should be made of a person’s race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, age or other identities unless it is pertinent to a story.
  • create an open atmosphere within our own newsroom that welcomes a variety of views and encourages discussion.

Distribution Process: Passed out in classes during school day; mailed to subscribers and patrons; sent to every high school in MCPS as well as all Wootton HS feeder schools

Number of Copies Printed: 1700

Scholastic Press Affiliations: Columbia Scholastic Press Association, Maryland/DC Scholastic Press Association



Max Jordan is the sports managing editor for Common Sense. He joined the paper his freshman year, and is the only current junior on their third year. Jordan enjoys writing for features and op-ed the most, as it allows for the most creativity. Outside of school, he is a member of both the hockey and swim and dive team.

Max was born in the Virginia Hospital Center and was raised in Falls Church, Virginia. In late 2004, Max and his family moved to Potomac, Maryland, where he lives with his parents, Kevin and Lynn, and two brothers, Riley and Luke, who both attend Cabin John Middle School.

Max has always loved music. He plays guitar and bass, and plans to learn drums in the future. His favorite band is The Strokes.

Max attended Cold Spring Elementary School, where he was cast as the lead role of “Prince Charming” in the second grade production of Cinderella. He has broken his arm four times, both sides twice, torn both sides of his hip flexor on two different occasions, and sprained his ankle. He is no stranger to the emergency room.

Feel free to follow him on Twitter and Instagram @m4xjord4n.

Rachel Wei, a senior, is one of the editors-in-chief of Common Sense. Rachel joined the Common Sense staff in her sophomore year and enjoys writing news articles about politics, local events and student events. Rachel’s favorite subjects are biology and anything to do with U.S. government and politics. She enjoys traveling to new places and hopes to study aboard inLondon.



Managing Editors

Matthew J. Klein is a managing editor for Common Sense. He began writing for the newspaper in early 2016. He enjoys covering political stories and writing satirical, often humorous articles, bringing attention to a variety of issues, most notably including fruits, math equations, and Supreme Court vacancies. He is currently beginning his third year at Thomas S. Wootton High School, and is set to work on the newspaper until 2018.

Klein was born and raised in Montgomery County, Maryland, where he is an avid member of the cross country team, which he first joined in 2014. He also ran indoor track during its 2015-16 season, and has run outdoor track for two seasons, in 2015 and 2016. He will remain on both teams for the entirety of his tenure at Wootton.

He volunteered on his first campaign in 2014, and attended the 2016 Democratic National Convention. He looks to study politics in college and fulfill his ultimate aspiration of becoming vice president of the United States.

Please do not follow him on Twitter @mjklein04 due to his deep hatred for it. You may friend him on Facebook if desired.


Katie Jayne Schreck is a managing editor of Thomas S. Wootton High School’s Common Sense. Katie was born and raised in North Potomac, Maryland, where she currently lives with her parents, Lewis and Susan, and their dog Charlie. Katie has two siblings, Emily who graduated from University of Maryland last spring and is now attending graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania, and Jesse who is earning his undergraduate degree at Beacon College.

Along with being apart of the Common Sense, Katie is involved in other organizations at Wootton, including Patriot Ambassadors, Humanities and Arts Signature Program and the Social Studies Honors Society. Katie is also an active Washington Redskins Football and UMD Basketball fan.

After graduating from Wootton in 2018, Katie hopes to attend a four year university to study Journalism. After growing up with her father working for the Washington Redskins, Katie has developed an interest in becoming a sideline reporter for the NFL Network, where she can spend every football Sunday on the field.

Follow Katie on Instagram (@kjschreck) and Twitter (@katieschreck42) for a fun time.

Josh Messitte is the News Managing Editor of the Wootton Common Sense Newspaper.  He joined Common sense as a staff writer in 2015 and became an editor in 2016.  Since becoming an editor, Josh has wrote arts articles and made the arts page of the newspaper. Josh was born in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in Potomac, Maryland.  He is currently a Junior at Wootton High School where he is a member of the soccer team and belongs the National, Social Studies, and Latin honors society.  Josh currently lives with his family in Potomac, Maryland. Follow him on twitter and Instagram @joshmessitte.


Front Page Editor

Joe Pohoryles is the front page editor for the Common Sense newspaper. He joined Common Sense in 2015. For the first semester of the 2015-2016 school year, Joe took the Introduction to Journalism course, then subsequently joined Common Sense as a staff writer, writing articles in the Sports and Features section, most notably for the Coed Volleyball team.

Joe’s love for writing and sports started at a young age. His father, Steve, sparked his interest in sports, while his mother, Cindy, got him into writing.

Joe runs for the Cross Country and Outdoor Track & Field teams. He earned his first varsity letter for the Track team in the 1600m and 800m events as a freshman in the spring of 2016. Now a sophomore, Joe hopes to earn his first varsity letter in Cross Country and become a bigger contributor for the Track team.

In the future, Joe plans to graduate high school, and go on to major in either English or Journalism in college. From there, he would like to write for a major sports news outlet (Washington Post sports section, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, etc.) and maybe even become a sports television/radio personality.

Joe was born in Washington, DC and currently lives in Rockville with his parents and two sisters.


Sports Editors

Ryan Ullman is a sports editor for the Common Sense at Wootton High School. He joined as a staff writer as a sophomore for the 2015-2016 school year, before becoming one of the sports editors. He has written articles for the features, news, and sports sections as a staff writer.
Ryan Grew up in Chevy Chase and moved to the Potomac area when he was in kindergarten. He still currently lives in Potomac with his two parents, and brother and sister. His family has been heavily involved in sports throughout his life and his brother and sister also play soccer. He has played soccer for the boy’s junior varsity team in 2014-2015 and 2015-2016. This year he is playing for the varsity team.
He will be graduating Wootton High School in 2018 and hopes to continue his love for journalism throughout college.
Follow Ryan on instagram at ryan_ullman7 and follow him on facebook.

Jill Geline, a junior, is a sports editor for the Common Sense newspaper. She joined Common Sense in 2015.
This is Jill’s 4th year playing soccer for the girls varsity soccer team. She has been the starting goalie on the team since her freshman year. Jill also is a member of the girls basketball team. She also is a member of the National Honors Society.


Features Editors

Julia Stern is the Senior Reviews Editor of Common Sense. She joined Common Sense her sophomore year at Wootton in 2015. She was a staff writer all year until she was named Social Media Director at the end of the year.

Julia grew up in Gaithersburg, where her dad worked as a lawyer and her mom worked as a psychologist. She went to Dufief Elementary School and graduated from Robert Frost Middle School in 2014. She played soccer and basketball at Frost, and was captain of both teams in 8th grade.

Julia continued to play sports at Wootton, as she played soccer, basketball and lacrosse freshman and sophomore year. This year, she will continue to play lacrosse and begin to play field hockey.

Follow her on twitter @julstern19 and instagram @jstern19

Jake Klugerman is a junior at Wootton high school and is serving the newspaper as the profiles editor.  Jake enjoyed learning about journalism and is excited to have his work in the newspaper.  He has two siblings including one who previously wrote for the Common Sense.


Opinion Editors

Justin Fishman is a sophomore at Wootton high school who joined the Common Sense Newspaper this year. Justin has loved writing ever since a young age although he originally did not know how to spell his name. Justin has an older brother who is a senior at Wootton high school. Justin loves to play and watch sports and sometimes even bet on the games. Justin hopes writing for the newspaper will be a memory that he will never forget.

You can find him on twitter @jfish324


Back Page Editors

Hannah Ho is a Back Page Editor on Wootton’s Common Sense newspaper. She joined Common Sense during her sophomore year at Wootton in 2016.

Born and raised in Gaithersburg, Maryland, she moved to the Wootton district with her younger brother and parents freshman year.

Hannah’s love for writing sparked when she was introduced to newspaper club at Lakelands Park Middle School in 6th grade where she continued it all three years. She has won awards such as The Montgomery County Mosaic Writing Contest for her short story in 2015.

Beyond writing, she is passionate about art and playing volleyball. She has played on the girls volleyball team for two years at Wootton and is the president of Wootton’s Art With A Heart Club.

Follow her on Instagram (@hannahh.ho) and friend her on Facebook


Arts Editor

James Barberis is the arts editor on Common Sense. He joined Common Sense during 2016-17 school year. Ever since he was a toddler, James has always had a passion for writing and literature.

He has lived in Gaithersburg, MD his entire life and has two younger brothers. In his free time, James loves to listen to vinyl, attend movies in the theater, and play the guitar and ukulele.

James has played soccer since he was three yet writing has been his main goal in life. This profound love for writing has lead him to Common Sense where he plans on being an integral part of the newspaper’s publication. He hopes that his time on the newspaper will be memorable and a stepping stone for the rest of his life.

Follow him on Twitter @jamessbarb and on Instagram @jamessbarb


News Editors

Danny Rothenberg is a junior at Wootton high school who is in his second year of writing for the Common Sense Newspaper. Danny is a sports enthusiast and player who found his love for writing through sports at a young age as he was and still is watching sports all the time. Danny hopes to make an impact in the newspaper throughout his time as a news editor.

Jonnie Voyta is a news editor for the Wootton Common Sense newspaper as a sophomore. Jonnie was born and still currently lives in Rockville, Maryland, where he went to Robert frost middle school. Jonnie has a brother who is currently a senior at Wootton and currently among the newspaper staff. Outside of school Jonnie likes to play lacrosse and other sports with his friends. Jonnie hopes writing for Common Sense will be a great experience where he can learn more about being a journalist.


Online Editor

John Riker is the online/social media editor of Wootton’s Common Sense newspaper. This is his third year on the paper and covers varsity and junior varsity sports in addition to maintaining the newspaper website. He is also the author and creator of johnriker.com and works for the NFLRush website as a Kid Reporter.

John was born and raised in the Montgomery County area and is the oldest of five. In his free time, he runs for the varsity cross country and track teams at Wootton and works on various projects, ranging from writing short stories to producing short films.

Subscribe to John’s blog at johnriker.com/site and follow him on twitter @johnriker10.



Staff Writers

Adam Friedman is a Staff Writer for the Common Sense. He joined the Common Sense staff in his sophomore year of the 2016-2017 school year. This is his second year on the paper.

Adam lives in Rockville, Maryland with his sister and brother as well as 4 stepsiblings, two at his mom’s house and two at his dad’s house. Adam enjoys playing sports. He boxes at Title Boxing and he hopes to start fighting soon.


Ava Castelli is a senior and staff writer of the Common Sense. She joined the staff in the fall of 2016. Ava grew up in Maryland with her four brothers and sister. She been playing lacrosse since the third grade. Growing up Ava has also played many other sports including soccer, basketball, swimming and track. Currently doing cross country at school, Ava also represents her school in indoor track and lacrosse.

After high school Ava hopes to attend college and is hoping to apply to Maryland and other nearby schools. In her spare time, Ava likes to see her friends and hang out with family.

Aaron Strauss is a junior staff writer for Wootton high schools Common Sense newspaper. He joined Common Sense this year. For half of the school year Aaron has been learnin how to become a staff writer. Aaron has loved writing all his life and is very excited to write for Wottons newspaper. Aaron has an older sister named Emma who graduated from Wootton in 2016, who now attends the University of Georgia, and a younger brother named Brett who will attend Wootton next year, as a freshman.

Aaron loves to play sports, watch sports games on tv, attend sports games, and take part in friendly challenges.

You can find him on instagram @ajaystrauss and add him as a friend on facebook

Matt Kelly is a sophomore staff writer for Wotton Common Sense newspaper. He joined Common Sense in the fall of 2016, Matt has enjoyed writing for other people his whole life. Matt is also excited for the opportunity to write for the school. He had an older brother Alex, who inspired him to request for the writing job. Matt enjoys playing sports, being with friends, and relaxing with family.

Joyce Yang is a sophomore staff writer for Wootton High School’s Common Sense. She was raised by her grandparents in China for 2 years after she was born in Maryland. Joyce currently lives in Maryland with her parents, older brother, aunt, uncle, and 3 cousins. Growing up she learned how to ice-skate, draw, and played the violin, but ended up quitting after a few years. Joyce continues to play the piano, guzheng, and dance.

Follow her on Twitter @psh_joyce3 and Instagram @psh_joyce

Jordyn Taylor, junior, is a staff writer for the Wootton Common Sense newspaper. She joined Common Sense in 2015.
Jordyn was born living in Germantown Maryland and moved to the Wootton district in 2009. She attended three different elementary schools, and graduated from Robert Frost Middle School in 2014.
Jordyn played soccer throughout her childhood and switched sports to play field hockey in 2012, in which she has played ever since. She has been on the Wootton Field Hockey team for her freshman, sophomore, and junior year.
Currently, Jordyn lives with her two parents and younger brother Dylan who is in 7th grade at Robert Frost Middle School. On her free time, she enjoys hanging out with friends and watching The Office.
Follow her on instagram @jordyn_taylor23.